Dallas City Hall at Night by Terence Russell

About the design:

“When you do a city hall, it has to convey an image of the people, and this had to represent the people of Dallas… The people I met – rich and poor, powerful and not so powerful – were all very proud of their city. They felt that Dallas was the greatest city there was, and I could not disappoint them.” – I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei’s modernist inverted pyramid design is a result from space requirements of city government. Public areas and citizen services required much less space than offices that ran the government; cantilevered building levels allowed for the upper levels to house the offices. The building slopes at a 34-degree angle, with each of the seven above-grade floors being 9½ feet wider than the one below. This inclined façade interacts with the buildings it faces downtown and provides protection from the weather and Texas sun.

The foundation and basement levels are considerably wider than the apparent footprint of the structure, extending out beneath the inclined facade. The cantilevered roof is 200 feet (61 meters) wide, the ground floor is 126 feet (38.4 meters) wide, and the basement 230 feet (70.1 meters) wide.6 When Mayor Jonsson reacted to the apparent top-heaviness of the building’s shape, three cylindrical pillars that appear the hold up the structure were created.These contain stairwells that had originally been concealed within the design. These pillars only provide visual support and do not bear the load of the building.

Pei also persuaded the city to acquire an additional six acres in front of the building as a plaza and buffer zone for his grand public structure. A 1,325-car parking garage was built beneath the plaza, and the extra income helped supplement the funding of the building.

A buff-colored concrete was chosen for the main building material; its color resembled local earth tones. Since concrete was both the primary structural and finish material, close attention was paid to every aspect of its mix and placement.

Dallas City Hall appears in the movie RoboCop serving as Omni Consumer Products headquarters. Matte painting is used in the movie in order to give the appearance of a much taller building.

Appears in Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Lathe of Heaven”.

Dallas City Hall makes multiple appearances during the four seasons of the television series Lois and Clark as “Star Labs” from the comic book series Superman.

from Wikipedia

Camera info
Canon EOS Rebel T1i
Tamron 18-275mm lens
F-stop f/3.5
Exposure 2 secs
ISO 100
Focus 18mm

HDR data
tripod, 3 RAW images +2 to -2, Photomatrix Pro 3.2

166 views as of 10/11/2010

Featured in Texas
in Unique Buildings Of The World
and in American Southwest
Top 10 in Let’s Hunt for Night Shots Challenge in The Scavenger Hunt
The World at Night Challenge in Around The World
and Night Scenes challenge in The 100 – 499 VIEWINGS GROUP

Son of an avid reader of paperbacks and a manager of a photofinishing plant in Abilene, Texas.

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  • BCImages
    BCImagesover 5 years ago


  • This instantly became one of my personal favorites!

    – Terence Russell

  • Charles Dobbs Photography
    Charles Dobbs ...over 5 years ago

    Great job Terence!!

  • Thanks, Charles. I had been looking for the right shot of this wonderful building for awhile. I’d never previously thought of shooting it at night!

    – Terence Russell

  • Linda Sparks
    Linda Sparksover 5 years ago

    Congrats. Great shot.

  • Thank you, Linda! I am very honored to be selected!

    – Terence Russell

  • Daniel J. McCauley IV
    Daniel J. McCa...over 5 years ago

  • I am honored and overcome with joy!

    – Terence Russell

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 5 years ago

    Congrats on your features Terence, wonderful HDR treatment my friend

  • Thanks, Larry. This one is my first photo to be featured in 3 groups. The Texas group also featured it. I am hoping one of the HDR groups will feature it too.

    – Terence Russell

  • Firesands
    Firesandsover 5 years ago

    Wow…. I love what you’ve done with this. Excellent work and congrats on the feature.

  • Thanks, Kenton. Such a grand compliment from a very talented artist is always a joy to receive.

    – Terence Russell

  • worldtripper
    worldtripperover 5 years ago

    What a knockout, Terry! I am in awe of I.M. Pei’s architectural masterpieces – I live in Texas and had NO idea! You know, I don’t even think I’ve ever seen it or I’d have to remember! Totally awesome! marita

  • Thanks bunches, Marita. I am hopeful that, at some time, I’ll be able to do as much for Louis Kahn’s wonderful Kimball Art Museum in Ft. Worth, a building I have been getting the perfect photo of since the early 80’s when I was an architecture student at University of Texas at Arlington. (I did not fulfill that dream and went into a different profession also starting with the letter a)

    – Terence Russell

  • make that have been trying getting the perfect photo

    – Terence Russell

  • worldtripper
    worldtripperover 5 years ago

    Oh yeah – and heartfelt congrats on getting it featured – no surprise at all, it had to! Cheers. Marita

  • carlosramos
    carlosramosover 5 years ago

    Congratulation,wonderful HDR treatment !!

  • Thanks, Carlos! I was personally both amazed and pleased upon my completion of my tone curve on this one.

    – Terence Russell

  • champion
    championover 5 years ago

    Great shot

  • Thanks! ;)

    – Terence Russell

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